Incoming: 2014 Part 4

October 03, 2014

This is the fourth and last of our series on members of the incoming class at The Cooper Union. See parts one, two and three.

Joel PolancoJoel Polanco
School of Art

Yonkers via Washington Heights

How did you become interested in art?

Art was always part of my life. My father loved to paint during his free time. Of course my dad being a taxi driver for 10 years and then becoming a public school teacher, he did not have all the time in the world to paint. But, whenever he could, he would paint and I sometimes would watch. My thing I loved to do was drawing. I loved watching cartoons as a child and I loved drawing my favorite characters. I would wake up at 7 AM on the weekends with a deep craving in my stomach. At an early age, I knew that it wasn’t that I wanted to draw, that feeling told me that I needed to draw.

What are you most looking forward to about college?

I’m looking forward to the amount of intense work that I know that all Cooper students experience. I am also looking forward to the supportive tight knit community I feel that I will experience at Cooper.

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I was an assistant teacher along with my brother [Xavier Polanco, who is also a School of Art freshman] at High School to Art School (HS2AS). HS2AS is a portfolio development program for public high school students. While being there I taught a small group of 6 students how to draw and how to critique and think critically about art. It was a fantastic experience. It felt good to be looked up to and watching them grow.


Mireya FabregasMireya Fabregas
School of Architecture
Caracas, Venezuela

Why did you choose to attend The Cooper Union?

Because of the uniqueness and quality of its architecture program (plus its location is unbeatable).

How did you become interested in studying architecture?

Both of my parents are architects, so it has been something I have been exposed to my entire life. They were the first to show me the beauty of design and the complexity of the career.

Last year, in a community service trip to Morocco, I had the chance to experience how through architecture you can change people's lives (in my case, children's study and recreational areas in a small town surrounded by mountains in Morocco). After the satisfaction that episode produced in me, I knew this is what I wanted to study for the next five years. There is no better feeling that enjoying what you are studying.

What are you most looking forward to about college?

Doing things I didn't know I was capable of doing. Learn, learn, and keep on learning.


Vishnu KaimalVishnu Kaimal
School of Engineering
West Windsor, NJ

How did you become interested in engineering?

I became interested in engineering, specifically electrical engineering, because of the rise of technology that is heavily reliant on electronics. Ranging from computers to phones, and even now in healthcare, electrical engineering has and will play a pivotal role in the next few decades.

Why did you choose to attend Cooper?

Initially, the rigorous engineering curriculum at Cooper is what drew me to the school. I wanted to attend a school that provided a complete immersion into engineering. Many engineering schools across the nation can provide such an environment. However, I was swayed toward Cooper Union following my visit to the school. Also, unlike other engineering schools I toured, there was a significant emphasis on the individual at The Cooper Union. I saw that there was constant communication among students and faculty throughout the department. Regardless of what they were doing, professors were willing to take the time to help students with issues in the lab or with anything academic in general.

Are there any activities or student groups you’re looking forward to getting involved with?

Outside of the classroom, I would like to participate in some sort of economics or finance club at Cooper Union. Besides engineering, economics has become another major interest of mine in the past few years. Additionally, I enjoy analyzing baseball specifically through sabermetrics such as WAR, Rbat, and other metrics.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.